That old bicycle lodged in a tree on Vashon Island makes national headlines

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The only explanation for this is a slow news day, or perhaps an editor looking for some quirky tale from the Pacific Northwest.

Bike embedded in tree on Vashon Island

Bike embedded in tree on Vashon Island

In any case, ABC News followed by Huffington Post this week did short pieces on that 50-some year old bicycle lodged in a tree on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound.

It is a surprise to see the rusty girl’s bike embedded in a tree about six feet off the ground. I searched around for it this summer on a bike ride over on Vashon, and finally found it in some woods on the northeast corner of 99th Avenue SW and SW 204th Street (see map).

It looked just like the photos I had seen, except I was scandalized that the handlebars were missing. How could someone deface one of Vashon Island’s treasures, I wondered.

I asked around later and learned that the front wheel has disappeared and re-appeared over the years; maybe it’s the same with the handlebars, and they’ll be returned some day.

View Vashon Island Bike in tree in a larger map

As the story goes, a former Vashon Islander, Don Puz, left the bicycle in a tree in the mid 1950s. Depending on the stories, either his mother was recently widowed or the family lost their house in a fire, but Don received the bicycle as a gift from the community.

Apparently Puz wasn’t too keen about riding a girl’s bike around the island, so he left it behind in some woods and promptly forgot about it. He told the Vason-Maury Island Beachcomber in 2009, that it has solid, hard tires and skinny little handlebars like a tricycle. “I was too big of a kid to ride it.”

Over the years, the tree actually grew around the bicycle, encasing it. The bike is solidly embedded in the wood.

After someone found it in the woods years later, Puz and his mother, Helen Puz, visited the site and Puz immediately recognized it as his bike. An island woman also claimed it as her own, but the Puz story is the considered to be the most valid.

In addition to making occasional national headlines, the bicycle in a tree figures prominently in a children’s book — “Red Ranger Came Calling” — by author Berkeley Breathed.

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  1. Is there somewhere I can get a copy of this picture?

    Thank you.

      • MsRobinG on October 12, 2016 at 2:40 pm
      • Reply

      Click on the picture then right click and then SAVE PICTURE AS. If you want to enlarge it. go to PAINT and do it there.

    • JJ on June 15, 2015 at 1:10 pm
    • Reply

    The pedal is visible in the picture. It is sticking out of a whole midway between the wheels. You can see the rusty pedal stem when you enlarge the picture. The rubber pedal is all but absorbed but looks as though it has discolored the tree. Likely the contamination has killed the cells there so it cannot be overgrown.

    I wonder what an X-ray of it would look like.

    It’s possible that the handlebars finally gave into rust. The goose neck would hold water at its base longer than the rest and would likely have rusted where it entered the frame.

    Cool picture. Thanks.

    The returning wheel is a little weird. Maybe it needed a patch. :D

    • GiGiGodwin on December 29, 2019 at 7:55 pm
    • Reply

    Too bad the bicycle wasn’t given to a child who would have appreciated receiving such a gift.

  1. […] via That old bicycle lodged in a tree on Vashon Island makes national headlines » Biking Bis. […]

  2. […] For more about the background of the Vashon Island bicycle tree, check out “That old bicycle lodged in a tree on Vashon Island…” […]

  3. […] of its belongings, and claimed the life of his father. Puz, despite the generosity of the gift, never liked the idea of sporting a girl’s bike at 9 years old. He told his mother that he had lost it and […]

  4. […] (Source) […]

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